+1 to H+

This Monday I got to see a screening of the highly anticipated new digital series H+. Though the series is made up by a number of short clips, I was able to see about 90 minutes worth of episodes. And from what I've seen, I'm very impressed. Here are a few thoughts I had coming out of the screening.

The story submerges us into the near future where almost everyone has taken personal technology to a new level; inside our bodies with wireless nanotechnology. In this world, you no longer need a smart phone, a laptop, or any other technology because everything is embedded into our physique.

But like any good science fiction show, something goes extremely wrong with the technology. And the story of H+ begins when the wireless grid that enables the technology goes mysteriously offline in what seems to be an act of sabotage killing billions. Every episode from then on reveals a new piece of the puzzle.

In a way H+ reminded me of FlashForward, a show I really enjoyed. But instead of the blackout in Flash Forward, every episode of H+ starts with a temporal reference point to when the episode is taking place in comparison to the time the wireless grid was hacked. Doing this allows us to experience and uncover the mystery by seeing everything from a back history of characters, to the current disaster and how humanity is dealing with the aftermath. All of these stories, no matter how separated by time and space all connect back to the technology and the event.

One of my favorite storylines from the preview screening was the story of a surrogate mother in India (played by Hannah Simone) who is asked to adopt the technology so that the parents of the child can stay in constant contact with her during the pregnancy. It's an interesting look at how the technology can be overly intrusive, and gives hints that this child may be connected in some way to the disaster itself (perhaps a nod to Y: The Last Man?).

The other storyline I gravitated towards was the one involving a character played by Sean Gunn. If you don't already know Sean's work, you will soon. His character has an interesting back story that I refuse to spoil for you.

One revelation I had when watching all these episodes was the realization that the creators of H+ have figured out a problem many storytellers face when posting short works of fiction online. When dealing with an ongoing story, many creators worry about viewers missing an episode or tuning into the show in the middle of a story arc, but H+ has developed a new form of storytelling that is non-linear, so you don't need to watch them in any particular order!

I know it sounds strange, but think of it like watching Pulp Fiction. Technically, you don't need to watch Pulp Fiction in the way that Quentin Tarantino arranged it. The stories all cross over in some way, but each segment is enjoyable on its own. In this way H+ rewrites the rules and allows viewers to not only watch the series in the order of their choice, but with the help of YouTube playlists fans are encouraged to create their own order for how they think the series should be watched.

This is definitely a fun new series to watch. And if you like mysterious shows in the vein of Lost, this may be the web series for you. If so, you'll probably want to run over to the H+ YouTube channel and subscribe now. The show will premiere there on August 8th.

WritingCasey McKinnon